Joshua 7:9
For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
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(9) The Canaanites . . . shall environ us round.—A thing extremely probable in itself, apart from the supernatural character of the invasion.

7:6-9 Joshua's concern for the honour of God, more than even for the fate of Israel, was the language of the Spirit of adoption. He pleaded with God. He laments their defeat, as he feared it would reflect on God's wisdom and power, his goodness and faithfulness. We cannot at any time urge a better plea than this, Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name? Let God be glorified in all, and then welcome his whole will.What wilt thou do unto thy great name? - i. e. "after the Canaanites have cut off our name what will become of Thy Name?" This bold expostulation, that of one wrestling in sore need with God in prayer, like the similar appeals of Moses in earlier emergencies (Compare the marginal references), is based upon God's past promises and mercies. What would be said of (God by the pagan if now He permitted Israel to be destroyed? 6-9. Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth … before the ark … he and the elders—It is evident, from those tokens of humiliation and sorrow, that a solemn fast was observed on this occasion. The language of Joshua's prayer is thought by many to savor of human infirmity and to be wanting in that reverence and submission he owed to God. But, although apparently breathing a spirit of bold remonstrance and complaint, it was in reality the effusion of a deeply humbled and afflicted mind, expressing his belief that God could not, after having so miraculously brought His people over Jordan into the promised land, intend to destroy them, to expose them to the insults of their triumphant enemies, and bring reproach upon His own name for inconstancy or unkindness to His people, or inability to resist their enemies. Unable to understand the cause of the present calamity, he owned the hand of God. Which will upon this occasion be blasphemed and charged with inconstancy, unkindness, and unfaithfulness to thine own people, and with inability to resist them, or to do thy people that good thou didst intend them. Compare Exodus 32:12 Numbers 14:13 Deu 33:27 Joel 2:17.

For the Canaanites,.... Those that dwell on the east and on the west of the land, see Joshua 11:3; who were one of the seven nations:

and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it; of this defeat; not only the Amorites, among whom they now were, and the Canaanites before mentioned, but the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites:

and shall environ us round; come with all their forces from all parts of the land, and surround us, so that there will be no escaping for us:

and cut off our name from the earth; utterly destroy us, that we shall be no more a nation and people, and the name of an Israelite no more be heard of, see Psalm 83:4,

and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? this, though mentioned last, was uppermost in the heart of Joshua, and was reserved by him as his strongest argument with God to appear for them and save them; since his own glory, the glory of his perfections, his wisdom, goodness, power, truth, and faithfulness, was so much concerned in their salvation.

For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great {e} name?

(e) When your enemies will blaspheme you and say that you were not able to defend us from them.

Verse 9. - For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it. The invariable argument of Moses (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:28; Deuteronomy 32:26, 27). The disgrace which the sin of man brings upon the cause of the Lord is a real and very terrible thing (cf. 2 Samuel 12:14; Ezekiel 36:23). Joshua 7:9The question which Joshua addresses to God he introduces in this way: "Pray (בּי contracted from בּעי), Lord, what shall I say?" to modify the boldness of the question which follows. It was not because he did not know what to say, for he proceeded at once to pour out the thoughts of his heart, but because he felt that the thought which he was about to utter might involve a reproach, as if, when God permitted that disaster, He had not thought of His own honour; and as he could not possibly think this, he introduced his words with a supplicatory inquiry. What he proceeds to say in Joshua 7:8, Joshua 7:9, does not contain two co-ordinate clauses, but one simple thought: how would God uphold His great name before the world, when the report that Israel had turned their back before them should reach the Canaanites, and they should come and surround the Israelites, and destroy them without a single trace from off the face of the earth.

(Note: Calovius has therefore given the correct interpretation: "When they have destroyed our name, after Thou hast chosen us to be Thy people, and brought us hither with such great wonders, what will become of Thy name? Our name is of little moment, but wilt Thou consult the honour of Thine own name, if Thou destroyest us? For Thou didst promise us this land; and what people is there that will honour Thy name if ours should be destroyed?")

In the words, "the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land," there is involved the thought that there were other people living in Canaan beside the Canaanites, e.g., the Philistines. The question, "What wilt Thou do with regard to Thy great name?" signifies, according to the parallel passages, Exodus 32:11-12; Numbers 14:13., Deuteronomy 9:28, "How wilt Thou preserve Thy great name, which Thou hast acquired thus far in the sight of all nations through the miraculous guidance of Israel, from being misunderstood and blasphemed among the heathen?" ("what wilt Thou do?" as in Genesis 26:29).

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